The Bloody Elbow team has entered its predictions for Bellator 216, and despite what you’re about to read, opinion on the welterweight tournament quarterfinal between Michael Page and Paul Daley is split. There’s a slight lean towards Daley, although I’m the only one who wrote in favor of “Semtex,” so I’m just going to assume I’m speaking on behalf of the Daley crowd. As for the co-main event, everyone except Fraser Coffeen is backing Vitaly Minakov to beat Cheick Kongo again. If you’re like me, you only just realized today that these two actually fought once before, and under the Bellator banner.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Michael Page vs. Paul Daley
Mookie Alexander: I’m still skeptical. Page has yet to fight a single top-level welterweight. Just because he hasn’t done so doesn’t mean he won’t beat those guys, but the two times he’s had even a moderate step up in competition, he went to boring decisions with Fernando Gonzalez and Nah-Shon Burrell. Has he really improved that much from the Gonzalez fight, which was almost three years ago but also two fights ago? Daley has wear and tear on him but his most recent win was a really good KO of Lorenz Larkin. I suppose we’ll find out if Page’s flashy striking can actually work at a higher level against someone who’s willing to bite down on his mouthpiece and fire off some hellacious shots. Daley’s chin has historically been hard to crack. How will Page react to eating a Daley left hook? Lots of questions concerning MVP that I don’t really have about Daley, although Page frustrating the hell out of Daley from range and getting all showy might lead to something reckless. Also of note, let’s not forget that this is five rounds, which Page has never trained for, whereas Daley has gone five rounds before and trained for multiple five-rounders in the past. Gimme Paul Daley by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: There are some technical aspects to this, concerning range and counter-punching and levels of competition and experience. But really, I think it just comes down to the idea that Page is a fighter who should be in the prime of his career; 7 years in, 31-years-old. If things aren’t clicking now, they probably never will be. Daley isn’t THAT much older, at 35, but he’s got a ton more mileage that I’m concerned with. If two power strikers are going to trade and see who falls first, I’ll take the rangier, younger, fresher counter-puncher over the older, more worn, brawler. Michael Page via KO, round 1.
Fraser Coffeen: I’m with Zane here. This comes down to technical striker vs bomber. And that favors the technician. Now, it’s entirely possible that the gap in talent is too big for Page to overcome. Because of the way he’s been slooooowly built up we don’t know for sure. But I think he’s got the goods. Maybe not the Anderson Silva level goods, but enough. MVP, KO R1
Eddie Mercado: Can Daley cut off the cage? If Daley can get on the inside, then he has a shot to land that left hook. If not, then I can see him getting frustrated and then having a meltdown. The meltdown will lead to Daley getting over zealous, followed by him rushing in, all just to get sniped by MVP. I can’t trust Daley to remain composed. The longer the fight goes on, the more it favors Page. Michael Page by KO, but maybe an annoying decision.
Staff picking Page: Nick, Zane, Fraser, Stephie
Staff picking Daley: Shak, Harry, Mookie, Tim, Phil
Cheick Kongo vs. Vitaly Minakov
Mookie Alexander: Minakov should be able to win this. Actually, I forgot he already did win this five years ago. He’s more well-rounded and has the power to shut Kongo’s lights off. Kongo has actually had a really good run in Bellator, and has turned in some finishes over his last two bouts. But Minakov is way better than either Javy Ayala or Timothy Johnson. Kongo is offensively outgunned here and he sure as hell won’t be able to just smother Minakov towards a god-awful decision. Vitaly Minakov by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: Kongo couldn’t win this fight 5 years ago, and the biggest change since then is that he’s now well into his 40s. Minakov may not be an electric talent, but he’s still a big, tough, skilled heavyweight in the prime of his career. Vitaly Minakov via TKO, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: You know, this might actually be the best version of Cheick Kongo ever. That being said, he’s still not exactly an offensive force. Vitaly Minakov by TKO, round 3.
Eddie Mercado: Let’s have a moment of silence for the testicles of these two men… Minakov inside the distance.
Staff picking Kongo: Fraser
Staff picking Minakov: Shak, Harry, Nick, Zane, Tim, Stephie, Phil, Eddie
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson
Mookie Alexander: Nelson looks washed and battle worn. There’s a reason why he’s resorted to a lot more takedown attempts than we saw throughout his UFC career. He’s not taking big strikes as well as he used to, and that huge right hand has largely been figured out. Cro Cop is well past his prime but at least he’s been winning, and notably stopping King Mo, albeit in a ring… and it’s also King Mo, who seems easily stoppable at this point. Still, “post-USADA Cro Cop” seems to have a tad more in the tank than Roy. Mirko Cro Cop by decision.
Zane Simon: Roy Nelson lost a half step of speed and it feels like his whole style crumbled. It’s hard to be a one-punch KO artist when everyone can now see that punch coming. And it’s left him with a game incredibly ill suited to winning rounds. I worry about Cro Cop in a cage. The lack of corners is a real detriment to his kickboxing style and a major reason he failed to find the same kind of success in the UFC as Pride. But, Nelson just doesn’t feel like a big enough threat for me to feel like Cro Cop can’t just out-work him over the distance. Mirko Cro Cop by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: At some point late in his UFC career, I think Cro Cop was wondering whether the juice was worth the squeeze, and he lost a fairly depressing TKO to Nelson. However, his career has cycled round to become something far better than anyone could have expected back then, and he’s found an improbable new lease on life, a fountain of youth if you will. While Bellator’s HW division isn’t exactly stacked, it does feel like he can put on an enhanced version of his performance this time around. Mirko Cro Cop by unanimous decision.
Eddie Mercado: Roy is so much slower than he used to be. Cro Cop too, but at least Mirko has more than a right hand. Cro Cop - Left leg cemetery.
Staff picking Cro Cop: Harry, Nick, Zane, Mookie, Tim, Fraser, Phil, Eddie
Staff picking Nelson: Shak, Stephie
Yaroslav Amosov vs. Erick Silva
Mookie Alexander: Erick Silva is close to washed and I really can’t pick him with any confidence against anyone who has some basic idea of what they’re doing. Amosov’s strength of competition is uninspiring, but he’s got the offense to make Silva fold, which isn’t hard to do. Yaroslav Amosov by TKO, round 1.
Zane Simon: Amosov’s record has some padding, no question. But, his Sambo creds are legit, and his ability to create offense in any position makes him a real problem, along with some surprising athletic ability. Silva is almost certainly the more polished grappler, but he’s also way, way more likely to break under pressure. Yaroslov Amosov via KO, round 2.
Eddie Mercado: Zane Simon gave Amososov his nickname “Dynamo.” Yaroslov Amosov any way he wants in round 1
Staff picking Amosov: Shak, Zane, Mookie, Fraser, Stephie, Phil, Eddie
Staff picking Silva: Harry, Nick, Tim
Valerie Loureda vs. Colby Fletcher
Mookie Alexander: Well at least it’s not someone who’s 0-12 in the amateurs. Fletcher is still not meant to be competitive, though. Valerie Loureda by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Bellator didn’t bring Fletcher in to win, even though she very well could. Valerie Loureda by decision.
Eddie Mercado: The Mohegan Sun $5 chip has spoken. Valerie Loureda by win.
Staff picking Loureda: Shak, Harry, Nick, Zane, Mookie, Tim, Fraser, Stephie, Phil, Eddie
Staff picking Fletcher:
Who wins the Bellator 216 main event?
This poll is closed
Page by KO
Daley by KO
Page by submission
Daley by submission
Page by decision
Daley by decision